Granit Xhaka is ending the season better than many expected. After his clash with fans in October, it was widely assumed he’d be leaving Arsenal during the winter market.
Unai Emery didn’t handle the situation very well, taking the captaincy from the Swiss international and somehow making the whole drama bigger than it needed to be.
When Mikel Arteta replaced the Spaniard it was made clear he was counting on Xhaka, and a new era of his Arsenal career started. That could continue with him lifting the FA Cup when the Gunners face Chelsea in the final at the weekend.
Taking stock of everything that has happened, the midfielder has been speaking to Swiss newspaper Blick.
Naturally, the first question was about what happened in October, and Xhaka wasn’t afraid to say how difficult the whole situation had been for him.
Asked if he’s proud to have ‘gone from bogeyman to hero’, Xhaka said: “Yes, it wasn’t a good time for me and my family after that game. It was also really unexpected for me and was very stressful for me, my family and the whole environment. I also suffered a lot personally. But today I’m proud, yes. And thankful to my family and the club who always stood behind me. I honestly never doubted myself. That I have the quality to play in this club and to perform well. It was a really difficult time, but also a time from which you can draw a lot of positive things in retrospect.”
On the actual abuse he took from fans, the footballer clearly didn’t want to start the whole thing again and explained ‘we’re all human beings’ and can react with emotion.
Hertha Berlin were keen to whisk Xhaka away from his Arsenal torment in January, and when asked how serious that was, he said: “Yes, there was a concrete offer, that is known. But the topic is now really ticked off for me and there is nothing left to say about it. My focus is now here in London. That’s the reality.”
Onwards and upwards for Granit Xhaka and Arsenal.